Covington and Mansfield, GA - Newton Trails recently signed sub-leases with the cities of Covington and Mansfield, Georgia for the purposes of building and maintaining the Cricket Frog Trail.

Newton Trails is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing multi-use recreational trails in Newton County. After a lengthy negotiation with Norfolk Southern Railroad, Newton Trails in 2016 secured a long-term lease on the 15 mile railway running between Covington and Newborn. The Cricket Frog Trail will be constructed on the old rail bed; to date a half mile has been paved in Covington.

By sub-leasing approximately 4.50 miles of the corridor to the City of Covington and 1.25 miles to the City of Mansfield, Newton Trails has formalized its partnership with those cities. The sub-leased sections lie within each city’s limits.

Greg Richardson, Newton Trails board chair, said, “We are pleased and excited to work with Covington and Mansfield, cities located on either end of the Cricket Frog Trail, in the effort to build a trail for all to enjoy.”

When asked why Covington was interested in sub-leasing a portion of the trail, Ronnie Johnston, mayor, replied, “The trail has the potential to be life-changing for a large portion of our community. I look for the Cricket Frog Trail to transform Covington much like the Beltline transformed parts of Atlanta, on a much smaller scale of course.”

Johnston noted the trail’s value for recreation as well as a convenient way for people move around town without driving. He said, “The west side of Covington is not as physically connected as it should be and the Cricket Frog Trail can help fill that basic need.”

Jeana Hyde, Mansfield city administrator, said her city was interested in a sub-lease because it wanted to be more involved in deciding how the trail is developed within the city. Mansfield has an exciting plan for redeveloping its city center and the trail will be part of that project. She added, “We want Mansfield to be one of the cool stops along the Cricket Frog Trail.”

When asked what residents might see in the near future, Hyde reported that Mansfield is ready to launch phase one of its city center construction project as soon as a fiber optic cable is relocated. Phase one will include paving about 300 feet of the Cricket Frog Trail and Newton Trails will pave an additional quarter mile running west from downtown. These two projects will be completed within the next few months.

For Covington Johnston said, “The Council recently had a day-long work session to determine our priorities as they relate to our strategic plan. We have a lot of things we have to do from an infrastructure standpoint and those take priority for obvious reasons. We also know that we have a real opportunity to provide connectivity with the trail and our plans for Central Park. The next step is to determine how much money we can allocate to amenities like the trail and park after we take care of the infrastructure necessities. Once we have a firm number, we can make plans for what the future of the trail holds.”

Meanwhile Newton Trails will pave the section of Cricket Frog Trail lying between Elm and Pace streets in Covington with work beginning soon.


Media contact: Duane M. Ford, / 608-331-7151

Newton Trails is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting, developing, and sustaining a connected system of trails that supports a vibrant, healthy, and prosperous community. Its formal name is Newton County Trail – Path Foundation, Inc. Newton Trails has a record of success dating from the 1990’s. Working with various partners and using grant money and donations, its efforts have resulted in the development of nearly nine miles of multi-use trails within Newton County, Georgia. In 2016, Newton Trails secured a long-term lease on the 15 mile Norfolk Southern Railroad corridor between Covington and Newborn, Georgia. The Cricket Frog Trail is being developed on the old rail bed. Newton Trails sponsors bicycle rides, hikes, volunteer trail maintenance, and other activities associated with recreation and trails.

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